By: Bull Demon "You be honest with me now," she said, nearing his side again. Forest put gentle pressure on his stomach again and he slammed his eyes shut. The pain was awful but he knew she had to find the source of the bleeding. She moved down a ways, repeating the pressure and this time he gasped. She sighed. "‘Mira, dear. Would you mind helping Harlan for a moment?" Elmira looked at Forest with a confused look. The older Spung just tilted her head. "Sure," she replied. "I'll be right back," she said to Radu and went over to see Harlan. "You need any help?" Harlan looked up, a bit surprised to see her. "Sure.. I mean.. I thought you were staying with Radu?" he asked. She sat down on the floor across from him. "Forest needed some space for a few minutes," she explained. Harlan dropped his eyes back to his work. He already had a large pile of cloth squares in the water but had a ways to go yet. Both tired to ignore the small cry that came from the corner but Harlan saw Elmira shut her eyes. He put a comforting hand on her arm and she looked up at him. "I'll never forgive my father." "You don't have to," Harlan said and she nodded. "All set, ‘Mira," Forest called over. Elmira smiled at Harlan for the first time and stood up, going back to her friend. His breathing had increased slightly and his face was much paler. "I found the sources." "Wait, sources?" Elmira asked. "His spleen and one kidney have ruptured as far as I can tell. I'm also thinking he has some liver and stomach damage," Forest explained. "Oh no," Elmira muttered. "What can you do?" "He needs surgery as soon as possible. But I can't safely do it here," Forest replied. "I trust he came from a ship with good medical staffing?" Elmira snorted. "Not really," she remarked. "Can we get a message to the Christa? Tell them what's happening and maybe they can come get us," Harlan suggested as he had been listening. "We can only safely send out encrypted messages," Forest replied, coming over and scooping up some of the wet cloth. "Thelma could decode them," Harlan said. Elmira's eyes lit up. "She could, couldn't she?" she muttered. "I'm going to go send one from my quarters. I'll be back for you three as soon as I can." Elmira was gone before anymore questioned could be asked of her. Harlan wondered over to Radu's side. Forest was bag in her bag looking for something. "She hit a sore spot on you?" he asked. The Andromedan nodded, not opening his eyes. Harlan sighed with great concern. Forest came back and set a few things at his side before taking his right arm and laying palm up. "You want some relief from pain, there, sweety?" She asked, opening a small bottle and pouring some clear solution onto a small pad. He nodded again and Harlan smiled. She rubbed the fast drying liquid over the lower half of his right arm, cleaning it of dried blood and slime. She tossed the now brown cloth aside and lifted a long package which she tore open. Harlan swallowed hard when he saw the thick needle. He immedately dropped his eyes the floor, not wanting to see it any longer. "This is going to pinch, my dear," Forest warned and slid the needle in before he could react. She taped a dry cloth square over the bulk of it and lifted up a length of clear piping hooked to a bag of clear fluid. She joined the needle and piping, then hung it from a hook on the wall. She then took another needle, this one full of a blue liquid, and slowly injected it into the bag of fluid. "There." Harlan watched him go from pained to relaxed in matter of seconds. Harlan felt relief himself. "Will he sleep?" he asked. "Maybe. It's up to him. I'm going to clean his wounds and do a more through exam while we wait for ‘Mira to come back," Forest told him as she brought her bag closer and lifted up a wet rag. "Asleep or not I'm sure a little comforting wouldn't hurt." Harlan smiled, taking the hint and sat down at Radu's side, watching Forest work. * * * * * * Rosie sighed and looked at her console. There had been no contact from Harlan or Radu nearly all day. Goddard kept telling everyone to calm down and just wait though, he too was becoming restless. Signs of Spung still kept popping up on the scanners which prevented Goddard from going down himself. Rosie just hoped they were all right. A low tone caught her attention and she looked down at her console again. "A message.." she said, over joyed till she saw that is both encrypted and from the Spung vessel. "Commander to the Compost," she called and sat back to wait. * * * * * * Harlan was amazed at how gentle Forest was. He hands were small compared to other Spung and it benefited her greatly. Over the past 45 minutes, she had cleaned and covered the wound on his chest and neck, repaired what she could of his ears and packed the space where a tooth once was. She was now using an item Harlan hadn't seen for ages. "Why you still you still using that?" he asked. Forest pulled the well taken care of stethoscope from her hidden ears and smiled. "As ‘Mira said, I'm old fashioned. I like it better then the new technology," she replied, putting the ear pieces back in. She was listening to his breathing and then moved it lower. Her face dropped with concern at the noise she heard. "He doesn't look very good," the dark boy muttered. Forest looked at Radu and then bag overhead and saw it was still quite full. But he did have a distressed looked on his face and was sweating quiet badly. "Radu?" she asked, pushing Harlan kindly out of the way. She squeezed his shoulder and Radu opened his eyes briefly. "What's the matter, sweety?" "Stomach hu-hurts..." he whispered, trying to go back to sleep. "What's it feel like?" she pressed, trying to keep him awake. "Heavy... hot," he replied. "What's wrong with him?" Harlan asked, seeing him is new pain. "Massive pressure and possible severe bleeding.." Forest muttered, knowing the possibility had been there all along. "We need to get him out of here." * * * * * * "But it's not a normal message, Commander Goddard," Rosie said, looking the odd letters and shapes. Goddard sighed and scratched his chin. "It's nothing you can sort out?" he asked, a look of doubt on his face. She shook her head. "Thelma might be able to," she suggested. "Thelma!" Goddard called, not expecting her as soon as she appeared. "Yes, sir?" she asked, causing him to startle. He sighed and pointed to the screen. "Can you decode that message?" he asked. She took his hand and began to scan his finger. Goddard raised an eyebrow and turned to Rosie who looked just as shocked. "There is no message, Commander," she said, giving him his hand back. Goddard just groaned with her cheery tone. "I mean on the screen," he cleared up. She looked at it. "Oh! I can do that!" she said, perkily, beginning to do so. Goddard shock his head and rubbed the top of his head. After a moment of clicks and beeps, Thelma turned to the front of the Commandpost. "Screen on." On came a picture of Elmira looking quite upset. "Turn it up, Rosie," Goddard said, the message hard to hear. "We need your help. My father caught Radu and Harlan this morning. I have them in a safe place now but I'm afraid my father gave Tox Radu to use in his training. He's..." she paused taking a breath before she continued. Goddard felt the small Mercurian tense up beside him. "Let's just say if we don't get off this ship within a few hours he will die." "No!" Rosie cried, not wanting to hear the news. Goddard rubbed her back and continued to listen. "I have a friend looking after him now. She is a medical officer on this ship. She's doing what she can for him but he's had major internal damage. She has offered to help repair him but it must be done on the Christa. It is not safe to do it here. "I overheard my father saying your small shuttle is destroyed. Don't bother returning to the surface, you won't make it back. I am stealing a shuttle in a few minutes and will try to rendezvous with the Christa within the next hour or so. The requests I have are one, be ready to get out of the sector and two, have Rosie ready for the major task of helping Radu. I have a friend who will be joining me and she can help her. Harlan is all right aside from a cut wrist. I hope you get this in time and I hope we are in time as well. Elmira out." "I'll get Cat and Bova up here. You can go get the Medlab ready.." Goddard began to say. "This is awful!" Rosie cried, not moving at all. Goddard hit the comm link. "Catalina and Bova take the Commandpost," he said and switched it off. "I'll have Ms Davenport meet you there." Rosie sighed but nodded at least and slid from her post. "I believe you can do it." She turned, surprised at Goddard's words. He smiled. "Thanks..." she said, looking a little more confident. Goddard watched her leave and then stood back, his mind thinking of the worst. * * * * * * Forest and Elmira were in the far corner talking. Elmira had just returned from sending her message and assuring the path was safe to get a shuttle. Harlan looked over and then back to Radu who was exceedingly uncomfortable. Forest had to take away the pain killer as it thinned blood and masked warning signs. He had begun to cough up blood frequently, another piece that worried Forest. "It's almost time," Harlan said. Radu opened his eyes the best he could. "For what?" he asked, not being able to hear the girls much. "To leave this place," Harlan replied. "Forever." Both boys looked over as Elmira left the room once again. "She's gone to get the passkeys so we can go to the shuttle bay. It's been decided to leave earlier then expected. The sooner we can get to facility the better," Forest explained, looking at them. Harlan nodded as he didn't need to be told the reason. "I would like to sit you up, my dear to see if you're going to be able to tolerate it." Radu nodded though wasn't looking forward to it. "Come on, I'll help you," Harlan said, standing up and holding out a hand. Despite the situation, Radu was amazed. Harlan had never been this kind the entire time he hand known him. He felt a scaly hand reached under his shoulder and took Harlan's hand gently. After a lot of pain and toil, Radu was sitting on the edge of the bed, trying to catch his breath. "This is going to be too interesting," Forest muttered. She set the oxygen mask back on him and sat down, hand on his back. "Just try to calm down. There's no hurry," she told him. She took this chance to look at the bruising on his back. She could clearly see several cracked ribs and the discomfort they caused. She turned back when he started coughing and pulled the mask off, handing him a small towel. He wiped his mouth and swallowed hard, a streak of blood on his mouth. "Come on, one more step," Forest urged, though a voice in the back of her head told her not to push the standing with how his stomach felt. With Harlan on one side and her on the other, they tugged him to his shaky feet. He seemed fine for a second and then Forest saw the distress on his face and guided him back down. "What happened?" she demanded, his face turning bright scarlet too fast for her liking. He gasped and brought his arm into his middle, easily tearing the needle she had set out. "Oww.." Harlan muttered, Radu never filched. Forest grabbed a cloth and tied it around the gushing wound, quickly turning back to him. "What happened?" she asked again. He shook his head. Harlan looked up as Elmira came in and immedately was at her friend's side. "What's the matter?" she asked, her hand on his knee. "I'm trying to get it out of him. Radu?" Forest said again. She sighed. "Lay him back." With the help of Harlan, she got him back but couldn't pry his arm from his middle. "Come on, sweety," she said. He had seemed to calm down some and his breathing slowed. "Feels.. Li-like something t-tore.." he muttered, his breathing braking his words. Elmira kissed his forehead as Forest gently put pressure where he hurt the most. He cried out a little and she swore in Spung. "He's not going walk," she replied at last. "What is it?" Harlan questioned. "Without imaging I can't be for sure," Forest said in a hurry, as she went through her bag. "It feels like his stomach muscles collapsed or torn. I've seen it happen on the fields," She pulled out a vial with green liquid in it and then quickly put it back. "What was that?" Harlan asked, stepping over. "Something I don't want to use," Forest muttered. She went over to Elmira who was talking quietly with her friend. "Can I ask you something?" "Sure," Elmira said and Forest sighed. "You know the drug Ambighty?" she asked. Elmira's scales drained of color. Forest took this as a yes. "I have some. And it may be our only chance of the four of us leaving alive." "Yeah, but if you... I mean that stuff..." Elmira muttered. "Use it," Radu said from below Elmira. All looked at him with surprise. "You know...?" Forest asked and he nodded. "Yeah. I've s-seen it used b-before. Please.." he told her. "What's it do?" Harlan asked as Forest fetched the vial again, this time twisting a long, thick point onto it. She walked over and sat down, still unsure of herself. "It's a banned war drug that the Spung used on Andromedans who fought for our side. If they fell during a battle and were mortally wounded, they would inject this," Forest said, holding up the syringe. "And it would give the dieing Andromedan a burst of fight. They usually died of heart failure or some their hearts burst. It's going to mask all you pain, Radu but you're heart's going race like mad." He nodded, still in a great deal of pain. Harlan watched as Forest slid the point under his skin and slowly depressed the plunger. "As soon as his heart rate increase we have to leave. There won't be much time." Elmira put her hand on his forehead and looked up to Harlan who looked exhausted. After only a few minutes of waiting, she felt Radu relax and Forest finally stood from timing his pulse. "Let's go." Go to part 5!